Posted on March 28th, 2019 by Zane Cagle
It can happen in the blink of an eye. A tire blows out on the highway, and the car in front of you begins to careen. It spins into the car next to it, which stops short, causing a chain reaction of rear-end collisions, emergency lane changes, sideswipes, and eventually an overturned vehicle.
Multi-car crashes are among the most dangerous car accidents because it’s difficult to drive defensively in the chaos. They are dangerous because they involve the combined force of several vehicles instead of one and increase the likelihood of serious injuries. You’re often at the mercy of your airbags and the vehicles surrounding you.
Even the safest drivers can find themselves injured after a multi-car collision, and piecing together liability after a chain-reaction crash can prove as chaotic as the accident itself.
An experienced personal injury attorney at The Cagle Law Firm can help you sort through the ramifications of a Missouri multi-car accident and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (314) 391-5220 or online for your free personal injury consultation. We can review your case and fight for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain.
Chain Reaction Crashes
A chain reaction crash occurs when three or more vehicles are involved in an accident triggered by a single driver or event, although the carelessness of multiple drivers may have caused the accident. The many types of multi-car crashes include:
- Three-car rear-end collisions
- Overturned vehicle crashes
- Road hazard crashes
- Tire blowouts
- Emergency vehicle accidents
- Commercial motor vehicle accidents
- Merging accidents
When two cars collide, they come to a screeching halt, often in the middle of a highway or an intersection. Other drivers are not expecting to suddenly come across stopped vehicles, and they may not have time to slow down or stop to prevent crashing into the stopped cars. Additionally, sometimes other drivers do not keep a safe following distance behind vehicles and can strike the vehicle collision with full force. This may happen again and again, until many vehicles have crashed in a single incident.
Commercial trucks are often involved in multi-car pileups. When these large vehicles crash, they may block much of the roadway. On roads with high speeds such as I-70 or I-64, drivers have few options and less reaction time when they encounter lane blockages. They can crash into the truck, brake suddenly, swerve into clear lanes, or run off the road. Any choice may lead to serious personal injuries.
Large truck accidents that involve a trailer blocking multiple lanes of traffic on high-speed roads lead to some of the nation’s most serious chain reaction accidents. In addition, if the truck is carrying cargo, the crash may cause a cargo spill, and items or liquid may cover many lanes of the highway.
One of the most common multi-car collisions is a three-way rear-end accident. This typically happens when the first car in a lane brakes suddenly. A second vehicle rear-ends the lead vehicle, then a third motor vehicle rear-ends the middle one. A chain reaction may also occur if one driver hits the back of another car and the impact sends that car into the back of a third car, and so on. These crashes may cause many people to suffer property damage and serious injuries.
In Missouri, every vehicle is responsible for keeping a safe distance between the vehicles in front of it. The law states that “The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonably safe and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the roadway.”
Overall, multi-car accidents are extremely complicated, and the insurance claims that follow can be just as complex. This is only one of many reasons why you want the right personal injury attorney fighting for your compensation.
Questions We Ask After Multi-Car Accidents
After a traumatic multi-car crash, we are certain that you have many questions, including what your legal rights are. What will happen to your car? Who will have to pay your medical bills? Will you be responsible for your costs? Can you get compensation from someone else? As the medical bills start piling up, do not wait to call our attorneys to discuss your accident.
To answer your questions, our legal team will ask questions as well. These questions help us determine what coverage you may have and how to build a possible claim.
Were You Hurt?
Some people are lucky enough to walk away from serious and frightening accidents relatively unscathed. Some people suffer injuries that require some medical attention and then heal in a few weeks. Multi-car accidents indefinitely or even permanently change the lives of other victims due to catastrophic injuries. Some common car accident injuries can include:
- Fractured limbs, ribs, or pelvis
- Torn or strained soft tissues, including tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Concussions and more severe traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal trauma and spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
After an accident, please seek medical treatment as soon as possible. In some situations, you may have obviously suffered injuries and need emergency transportation in an ambulance. On the other hand, the EMTs on the scene may determine you do not need an ambulance ride, and you may feel tempted to simply go straight home and rest. Go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility to get checked out by a doctor anyway.
You may think that soreness and feeling out of it are normal reactions to a car accident. In reality, the soreness may stem from a soft tissue injury or fracture, and disorientation from a concussion may cause the out-of-it feeling. Pain is the way the body communicates that something is wrong, so seek medical treatment. Have a doctor examine you to ensure all your injuries are diagnosed as soon as possible after a crash. This ensures you receive the right treatment, and can help prove your injuries in an insurance claim down the road. Your injuries are at the center of your legal case, so you want accurate and thorough records of all diagnoses and treatments you receive.
What Losses Did You Suffer?
When you sit down with an attorney to discuss your case, the extent of your accident-related losses is an important issue to determine. When discussing your losses, keep in mind that Missouri law allows victims to recover for both economic losses and non-economic losses, so your pain that you’re experiencing is just as important to discuss as your vehicle repair bills.
Damages that injury victims often successfully seek after a multi-vehicle accident include:
- Medical expenses
- Costs of future medical care
- Lost income
- Lost future earnings
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Permanent disabilities, impairments, or disfigurement
- Property damage
You only get one chance to settle your case, so any settlement you accept must adequately compensate you for all of your losses, including those that have not yet occurred.
For example, if your injuries are going to affect your ability to work in the future, you’ll need to figure out just how much income you are going to lose as a result of your accident. Likewise, you may have ongoing medical expenses related to your injuries, and any settlement you agree to take must include these costs. Retain an experienced attorney to represent you during this process to calculate these extremely complicated non-economic and future losses.
A lawyer familiar with personal injury litigation will thoroughly evaluate all of your losses and issue a demand letter that seeks adequate compensation on your behalf. The insurance company is going to want to see evidence in support of your losses, which can take the form of documentary evidence such as medical records and repair bills, and also the opinions of medical, occupational, and financial experts. Without supporting evidence, an insurance company may simply refuse to provide you compensation for your stated losses. Our attorneys handle every step of the process from demand letters to lawsuits. As an injured party, your focus must be on getting the best medical treatment and getting on with your life.
At The Cagle Law Firm, we have a team working to ensure that our clients get the compensation that they deserve under the law. In the event that an insurance company is unwilling to settle your case for a reasonable amount, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial to protect your legal rights.
Who Was at Fault?
After determining that you suffered injuries and losses, we then may work to identify how you might recover your losses. This involves determining who was at fault. In multi-car crashes, one driver may have caused the entire event, or several different drivers may have contributed to different injuries. Answering this question can require a complex analysis, both of the accident itself and legal principles of liability.
We have many resources we can use, when appropriate or available, to evaluate what happened in your multi-car crash, including:
- The police accident report – This is typically the earliest description of the event. Officers can record whether they issued citations to or arrested any drivers involved in the crash for violating the law. This can help identify whether specific drivers were at fault. Officers do not determine “fault”, but they can issue citations when appropriate.
- Damage to your vehicle – An expert witness can assess the nature of damage to your vehicle, including paint and debris samples, to piece together the position and speed of your vehicle before and after multiple impacts.
- The scene of the accident – Tire tread marks and additional damage from the scene can indicate the speed of the vehicles before impact. Accident reconstruction specialists can often use evidence from the scene to develop a theory of what caused each part of the multi-car crash to happen. Accident reconstruction experts are only called in by law enforcement at the scene when there has been a fatality. Thus, any scene investigation in a non-fatality crash is often done by other experts after the crash.
- Video footage – CCTV footage from a local business or traffic cam can shed light on much of the story of an accident. Sometimes, people also may catch crashes on their cell phones or dash cams.
- Witness interviews – After many accidents, people may stop even though they were not directly involved in the crash. Such witnesses can provide important information regarding what happened from an outside point of view. Getting witness statements from pedestrians or occupants of the other vehicles can help piece together the chain of events leading to a multi-car collision.
We can use these resources to help identify what coverage may be available to you for your losses. You may seek coverage from the insurance companies of one or more drivers, as well as possible third parties who were not directly part of the crash, such as car manufacturers, if an equipment malfunction caused or contributed to the accident.
Once we determine how to best seek coverage for a client, our law firm then handles every step of the insurance process and of a legal claim when needed. Sometimes, it’s necessary to settle with a single liable driver while pursuing litigation against the remaining vehicles. We will advise you as to the best path to maximum recovery for your injuries and losses.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Chain Reaction Crash Attorney Today
There is no question that recovering financially after a multi-car collision can involve a complex process. Whether you were a driver, passenger, or pedestrian injured in a chain reaction crash, contact a law firm that regularly takes on this type of challenging case, and that will do whatever it takes to protect your rights.
Only an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with multi-car collision litigation should review your case. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident for which multiple parties may bear fault, call the experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys from The Cagle Law Firm at (314) 276-1681 or contact us online for your free personal injury consultation.